Like many or all of you, I struggle deeply with sharing both the fact that I have MS and the impact that it has on my daily life. I have not let it be widely known in my community and even circle of friends that I have MS. Only close family and a very few friends know the whole story.
I occasionally ask myself why I choose to keep this diagnosis private. Here, I consciously use the word "private" versus "secret." It is no secret that I fight MS - but I do keep it a private battle.
Again, I ask myself WHY? WHY do I feel the need to go this mostly alone?
Is is healthy or productive to keep this to myself?
What demons am I battling with my image to others that push me to zip my lips?
When does one decide to share this information, to whom, and why or why not?
I hope you have better answers to this one than I! If so, please share and I am certain your words could help a lot of people through agonizing decisions.
For many, keeping this on the down low is a practical, employment matter. Not so, for me. I run my own micro business and am my own boss and employee. I do not disclose to contractors for fear of not having my proposals fully considered.
This professional decision is clear for me. I have no struggles with it.
Where the struggle sets in is on the personal end. I am a private person by nature, training, and personality. I'm more interested in learning about others than sharing about myself.
So, what's the big deal? Yesterday, a trusted friend asked me how my running was going. I gave my standard answer of "slow and steady." A true answer! I run similar mileage and pace almost every week of the year. I almost never miss a day of running and am very happy with the benefits I gain from each session.
Then, she asked the next question: "Do you ever consider racing or working on getting faster?" She's a coach (like me), so this is a natural question between us. She knows I have an athletic past and that I am in shape. My answer to her was so evasive and corny that I walked away feeling guilty - like I had lied to her. Something about being content where I am... blah... blah ... blah...
I am not content where I am! Every fiber in my being wants to race again!! I love competition and would give anything to get out there and toe the line for something more than a fitness run!! That's the truth!!
But, I said nothing like that in my answer. I walked away feeling like a coward and a liar. My answer was not genuine, complete or even truthful... (Bow head)
So, my focus for this week is going to be on communication. Not just the "how" piece, but more deeply on the "why" piece. I want to re-visit the reasons why I am not being fully upfront about my situation and how it impacts me physically and emotionally.
And, dear friend, who I avoided answering yesterday: I will try harder to be truthful. We will talk.
Wish me luck. It's hard to be broken!